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All I ever wanted when I was a kid was to grow up to be a cowboy. My dad was a cowboy - and most of my other heroes were too. On a sea of central Oregon sage, when the Redmond Auction Yard operated where you now buy your Whoppers, and broncs and bulls bucked in the arena now filled with Fred Meyer shopping carts, I grew up developing the bow in my legs.

Both of my parents were very involved with horses so, naturally, horses were a large part of my life. I never lost my interest and intrigue with the horse. Over time my horsemanship has evolved to combine the art of vaquero horsemanship with the philosophy of natural horsemanship. The intricate balance and control of vaquero horsemanship, and the harmony of working with the horse through mutual understanding, results in a partnership that can accomplish truly amazing feats. From operating our horse in the most controlled and precise ways, to handling cattle in a skillful manner, a true horseperson and a highly developed horse appear to be working as one. This is my purusit and what I enjoy teaching others in a variety of settings.

I have been blessed with countless opportunities to learn and fine tune my horsemanship skills. To start a list of names would just result in my leaving out some very deserving ones. They have crossed a variety of disciplines, regions, and philosophies but I am grateful to each of them for sharing their pursuits of horsemanship with me. It is necessary, however, to say the teachings of Tom Dorrance and many who learned from him, have had much influence on me.



Pants Polisher

They asked me “What’s a saddle?”
So I told ‘em it’s a kack,
A rig of wood and leather
shaped to fit a horse’s back.
You set up in its middle
with a leg hung down each side,
Some horse meat in between ‘em,
and that is known as “ride.”

I could have stopped right there, of course,
and saved a heap of steam,
But when they speak of saddles,
my old eyes take on a gleam,
For the saddle is an implement
that’s bred a breed of man
Who rides the range of history
plumb back to Genghis Khan.
Two legs was all us humans had,
but men that wanted more,
They figgered out the saddle,
and its magic gave ‘em four.

The Saracen, the Cossack,
the Arab and the knight,
The Mongol and the chevalier -
they all was men of might,
Because instead of walkin’
like a tamer breed would do,
They climbed up in a saddle
when they had a job in view.

King Richard was a saddle man,
and Sheridan and Lee,
And Grant and “Black Jack” Pershing -
just to mention two or three.
Remember ol’ Sir Galahad
of that there poet’s tale?
His pants was saddle-polished
while he sought the Holy Grail!
Of course them heroes never rode
no Texas applehorn,
But they’re the cowboy’s kinfolks,
just as sure as you are born.

They asked me “What’s a saddle?”
It’s a riggin’ made to fit
A man (sometimes a woman)
in the region where they sit.
It’s made of wood and leather,
with a cinch that goes around
A chunk of livin’ horse meat
‘twixt the rider and the ground.
It’s just the apparatus
that a cowhand climbs upon
To start his day of cow work
at the chilly hour of dawn.
It’s just a piece of ridin’ gear
that, when it’s had a chance,
Has give the world some heroes -
while it polished up their pants!
— S. Omar Barker